JCPS teacher sentenced to 3 years in prison for DUI injury case
A JCPS elementary teacher was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for her role in a drunk driving incident that left a victim with serious injuries last Halloween.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Jefferson County Public Schools elementary teacher was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for her role in a drunk driving incident that left a victim with serious injuries last Halloween.
Rachel Bouya Ahmed Limam, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal mischief and aggravated drunk driving on Aug. 31, but had asked for probation for her actions.
Her attorney, Brendan McLeod, told Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Audra Eckerle that Bouya Ahmed Limam had been a "closet alcoholic" and drank "without anyone knowing." He said she was a "functional alcoholic...but dangerous alcoholic."
The day after she was released from the hospital, Bouya Ahmed Limam recognized she had an alcohol problem and immediately sought treatment at the Morton Center, McLeod said. Bouya Ahmed Limam testified she has been sober since the wreck.
"I feel horrible about what I did," she told the judge. "If I could take it back, I would. Never in a million years did I think I would be here today...that I would hurt someone."
Bouya Ahmed Limam outlined how she suffered from depression and anxiety and started drinking at the age of 15. She said there were numerous times she tried to stop drinking, but couldn't stop.
"Then, this happened and I don't even remember how," she testified.
According to a police report, Bouya Ahmed Limam failed to stop at the stoplight at the intersection of East Broadway and South Jackson streets in downtown Louisville shortly after midnight on Nov. 1, 2015. She struck two vehicles and caused serious injuries to Amanda Doyle of Louisville.
Bouya Ahmed Limam's blood alcohol content was .231 at the time of the accident -- nearly three times the legal limit. In his report, LMPD officer Robin Engle wrote that she was "obviously under the influence and officer could smell alcohol on her breath." She also told paramedics she had been drinking, the report states.
Engle said an empty bottle of Jack Daniels was found on the floorboard of her vehicle.
Doyle told the judge Wednesday that she suffered a fractures in her nose, face, skull, spine and leg, two herniated discs and a cerebrospinal fluid leak that left her hospitalized for a week. She also detailed subsequent injuries caused from the accident that she'll have to live with for the rest of her life.
"Three hundred-sixty days ago, I was on my way home when a drunk driver stole my life," Doyle said. "I was hit so hard and so fast that the center console ripped out of my car and hit me in my head and face. I almost died that night."
Doyle said she will "never be the same" and will "forever be paying the price" of Bouya Ahmed Limam's actions.
"I was once a healthy, vibrant, young 26-year-old critical care nurse and I now have to look at stepping away from my one true passion and look at other ways to use my nursing license," Doyle said.
Bouya Ahmed Limam apologized to Doyle in court for her actions and told the judge she takes "full responsibility for what I've done." She said she would do anything to "make it right." She asked for probation so that she can help others."
"I want to help other people as I go forward," she said. "I want to help the victims of this disease."
After hearing statements from both Bouya Ahmed Limam and Doyle, Eckerle said that drunk drivers are among the most dangerous people who appear in her courtroom since they present such a threat to the community.
Eckerle said she wasn't sure if Bouya Ahmed Limam has had enough time to "contemplate the seriousness of what you've done."
"You have sentenced your victim to a lifelong sentence," Eckerle said, adding it was "not a mistake" but an "intentional action."
Instead of probation, Eckerle said Bouya Ahmed Limam needed to serve her full three-years sentence in prison.
Bouya Ahmed Limam has worked as a fifth-grade teacher at Semple Elementary School since 2012 and had continued to teach, even after pleading guilty to the felony charges.
Jennifer Brislin, a district spokeswoman, says that a felony conviction is grounds for termination but could not say Wednesday if the termination process has begun.
Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.
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